Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A pair of American Robins (Turdus migratorius) has built a nest in a large bush next to the stairs of our back deck. We have had the opportunity to watch the building process, see the finished empty nest fill with blue eggs, and observe the parents' behavior.

The empty nest, is made mostly of twigs and dried grasses and lined with wet leaves and mud. It seemed that the female did the majority of the building work.

At last count, there were four eggs.

Here's mom diligently hatching her brood. The duller colored female robin spends most of her time on the nest while her more darkly colored mate searches for food and stands guard in a nearby tree. It takes about 2 weeks for the eggs to hatch, so we should be seeing chicks soon.

Robins are the largest members of the thrush family in the United States. While some migrate to warmer parts for the winter, many stay on if there is adequate food and shelter. Most people think of robins as worm eaters, but they also enjoy grubs and other insects as well as berries. When my husband and I lived in Naples, Florida during the early 1990's, we would see huge flocks of robins during the winter gorging themselves on red berries from bushes along the sides of the road. It appeared that the berries made them "drunk."
Robins are part of Cornell University's Ornithology department's Urban Birds Project. Visit the site at www.birds.cornell.edu/NetCommunity to see all their citizen science programs. No need to be a bird expert. These projects are great for classroom use. The data you collect and send in will be used for research.

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